A learning block aka block to learning is a temporary or permanent limiting belief that can hinder students in their learning process. Typical learning blocks include I don't know what to do, I can't do it and I don't want to do it. All of us, at some moment of the day, will be faced with limiting beliefs that will directly or indirectly our performance in some way or distract us from the task on hand. And in the learning context they will also afflict even "keen, well-motivated and interested students".
One of the many everyday hurdles to be overcome is how to present that same language item in an interesting and meaningful way even when you're well aware that the students have been presented with that same item several times before. How many times have you come across that false beginner who tells you that s/he wants to join your class but only on the condition that he/she doesn't have to study the verb "to be" again because they've gone over it on every single language course they've done to date and they still haven't learnt it? Have you noticed that students tend to let their minds wander as lunchtime approaches? That yours does...?
Blocks to learning can arise from at least three separately or simultaneously occurring sources:
- from oneself: I'm bored; I'm hungry; I've got a headache;
- from the environment: it's really nice day outside; I wonder if he's going to phone;
- the subject being studied/work being done: it's pointless; we've already done this; it's too difficult, etc.
- Fisher, Robert. Teaching Children to Learn, pág. 2. Nelson Thornes, 2005 at Google Books.
- Taber, Keith S. "Prior learning as an epistemological block? The octet rule - an example from science education" Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, Sept. 1995